A day at Borobodur and Vulcan Merapi

Borobodur Travel Blog

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A view of Borobodur

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Markus (Finland), Hannes (Sweden)

A trip to Borobodur will surely be on anyones itinary for a trip to Java and understandably so. The Buddhist Temple was built in the 9th century AD and contains 1500 narrative panels, over 400 Buddha images and dozens of latticed stupas, with the most impressive concentration on the very top. The location is also spectacular with mountains climbing in the distance and volcanoes not far away.

To make the 42km venture from Yogyakarta the four of us hired motorbikes and this meant that we would require all of our driving skills to get there in one piece.

Buddha checks out the vista
Although the Indonesians drive on the left (which is common for a Brit), they dont seem to have many other road rules. Basically, big gives way to small, undertaking is expected, a horn is necessary and always expect pot holes on any stretch of asphalt! After a few wrong turns and nearly running into the back of a truck, we eventually arrived after nearly 2 hours, with the scorching sun helping to drain what little energy we hadn't exerted on the journey :)

We spent a couple of hours wandering around the different levels, inspecting the carvings and just appreciating the fine architecture. Unlike other temples i have visited, Borobodur stands out due to its fantastic stupas, many of which contain a hidden Buddha image. Sadly a lot of the Temple has suffered damage over the years with many Buddhas now headless and several of the stupas smashed.

The central stupas of Borobodur
It is nevertheless an interesting site and is evidence of the Buddhist domination of Java.

The four of us had some mie goreng ayam (fried noodles with chicken), a real Indonesian favourite, before hopping back on to the bikes to visit 2 nearby temples. First stop was at Pawon Temple, followed by the more impressive Mendut Temple. Here there was also a modern place of worship, containing stupas, a carved elephant and a lotus pond. As time was passing us by, we decided to leave Prambanan for the following day and instead drove off into the countryside in search of Vulcan Merapi.

Now you might find it strange that one should have to 'search' for a 3000m high volcano that has caused countless deaths over the years, but as the day had drawn onwards, the clouds had also begun to roll in around the mountains.

Local lady picks some chilli
As we passed along the countrysides scenic roads, we stopped to ask directions on several occasions and whilst doing this got to see some interesting locals picking chilis and rice. When we eventually reached the 'viewing point' all we could see was mist and mixed with the altitude, it had become really cold. Hannes therefore decided he needed a coat and bought one from a local lady who had come to see what we were doing. Normally you would think that $3.50 is not bad for a coat, but this thing was falling to pieces and in Indonesia you could buy a brand new one like it for probably $3! At least he seemed happy to parade his new purchase whilst we shivered away in our t-shirts.

Just as we had started our engines and were about to begin our descents, the weather all of a sudden began to improve.

Heineken or Bintang Julia?
The mist lifted slowly but surely and within 20 minutes Merapi all of a sudden became visible. It was a real stroke of luck and one that we were really grateful for. We remained for 20 minutes as Javas largest and most dangerous volcano disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. Rejuvinated, we hopped back on our bikes and began our journey back to Yogya. It took us nearly 2 hours again, much of which was in the dark. We were pleased to arrive back safely after a really great day out.

Julia and I went and had some Dinner in the little cafe we had grown so fond of and followed it up with a beer in the Banana Bar, where a really cool band came and played a couple of songs. We continued on to the Bintang Bar where another live band were on display playing some funky music before eventually crawling home around 2.30am.

mypictures4u says:
Yeah, probably the Canada pics. And perhaps you saw some of the pics on my webpage mypictures4u.com :-D
Posted on: Mar 28, 2008
Deats says:
Im sure i looked at your photos from here? I may be wrong, but i thought you had some pretty amazing ones on here?!?!? I took a look at some of your landscape/scenery pictures a few weeks back, really amazing ;) i think it was canada that really blew me away, mountains and lakes if i remember correctly
Posted on: Mar 27, 2008
mypictures4u says:
Thanks for all the pics. Reminds me of my visit. I had no digital camera so I just took a few pictures.
Posted on: Mar 27, 2008
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A view of Borobodur
A view of Borobodur
Buddha checks out the vista
Buddha checks out the vista
The central stupas of Borobodur
The central stupas of Borobodur
Local lady picks some chilli
Local lady picks some chilli
Heineken or Bintang Julia?
Heineken or Bintang Julia?
Some carvings with one of the many…
Some carvings with one of the man…
Some carvings of people and an ele…
Some carvings of people and an el…
Elephant carving at Borobodur
Elephant carving at Borobodur
Carvings at Borobodur
Carvings at Borobodur
Headless Buddhas
Headless Buddhas
Buddha
Buddha
Hannes captures the moment
Hannes captures the moment
Even Buddha needs protection from …
Even Buddha needs protection from…
Sculptures at Borobodur
Sculptures at Borobodur
Julia can fall asleep anywhere!
Julia can fall asleep anywhere!
Buddha sculpture
Buddha sculpture
Sculpture of something scary looki…
Sculpture of something scary look…
Sculpted dog like animal
Sculpted dog like animal
Some of the better preserved statu…
Some of the better preserved stat…
Buddha looks on with some of the f…
Buddha looks on with some of the …
A corner of the temple
A corner of the temple
Scary sculpture
Scary sculpture
What a good looking sculpture!
What a good looking sculpture!
The hairdresser was busy before th…
The hairdresser was busy before t…
The bells the bells, but where is …
The bells the bells, but where is…
Stairs leading up to the cental st…
Stairs leading up to the cental s…
Stupas containing a Buddha facing …
Stupas containing a Buddha facing…
Buddha and the central stupa
Buddha and the central stupa
Scenic view from Borobodur
Scenic view from Borobodur
Me with the stupas at Borobodur
Me with the stupas at Borobodur
Carving stands guard
Carving stands guard
Borobodur Temple
Borobodur Temple
Pawon Temple
Pawon Temple
Interesting tree at Mendut Temple
Interesting tree at Mendut Temple
Mendut Temple
Mendut Temple
Julia, Me, Hannes and Markus at Me…
Julia, Me, Hannes and Markus at M…
Seated Buddha inside Mendut Temple
Seated Buddha inside Mendut Temple
Lotus flower and bells near Mendut…
Lotus flower and bells near Mendu…
Lotus Flower
Lotus Flower
Julia and a wooden carved elephant
Julia and a wooden carved elephant
Harvesting Indonesias famous spices
Harvesting Indonesias famous spices
Me, Julia, Hannes and I at a foggy…
Me, Julia, Hannes and I at a fogg…
Vulcan Merapi
Vulcan Merapi
A cool band play in the restaurant…
A cool band play in the restauran…
Relaxing with a sweet sweet Bintang
Relaxing with a sweet sweet Bintang
Borobodur
photo by: Ils1976